We often have the solution to a problem in front of us, but we do not realize it. That is the case of the uninsured motorist coverage, which is utilized to cover damages caused by someone with insufficient insurance.
In Georgia, it is mandatory to have auto insurance that covers property damage and personal injury. In case you have an accident, the victim can claim payment because you have an insurance policy.
It’s different in the case of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM)/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. This coverage allows you to claim the missing payment from your insurance company, the payment that could not be covered by the at-fault party’s policy, as many times the amount is insufficient. UM and UIM covers only and specifically personal injury; it does not include coverage for property damage.
UM/UIM are essentially the same thing. They are just called differently because of the particular circumstance: when you are simply uninsured or underinsured.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is additional insurance and is not mandatory in Georgia, as that is what the mandatory policy is for, the minimum, which is $25,000.
When that policy is inadequate, the uninsured motorist policy kicks in. In our experience, when there are personal injuries and surgical intervention is necessary, that minimum amount is reached and quickly exceeded. You exhaust the policy of the guilty party because you reach the limit of its coverage. It would be best if you cover the remaining expenses in another way because the amount is insufficient.
So, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to double that coverage. A personal injury lawyer can help you.
Remember that in case of accidents, if you are the victim, you will use the policy of the person responsible or at fault, that is, the person who hit you. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a primary policy you purchase with your compulsory insurance. You apply it only when there is insufficient coverage or no coverage from the person who injured you.
In addition, it is a low-cost policy, and your insurance company is obligated to offer it to you. This is very important because there must be a record that you were offered the policy and rejected it in writing. If that written rejection is not documented, your insurance company must cover the amount, as if you had the policy, because they are required to offer it in the state of Georgia.
There are different accident scenarios in which you could use the UM/UIM policy.
You may be able to apply it if you are the victim of a hit and run, or maybe your parked car is hit, and you have no one to claim against because you didn’t see who hit you. Even if you hit a wall or other obstacle while dodging a car on the freeway, you may be able to apply the policy if you suffered a personal injury and cannot claim against a certain party. Also, it applies if you were in the street or sidewalk when a car hit you and their coverage is insufficient for your personal injuries.
This policy covers you in the event of a car accident in Atlanta, and the at-fault party’s coverage is insufficient, or you have no contact to make a claim or file a personal injury lawsuit.
The uninsured motorist policy is not activated with the payment of a deductible. Since it is a policy that covers personal injuries, you will not have to pay a portion for the insurance to be activated.
We must clarify that you will not be able to apply it if you are at fault. If you are responsible for the crash, you will not be able to use it. UM/UIM can only be used if you are hit, are the victim, and the at-fault party’s insurance does not cover all your personal injuries.
The uninsured/underinsured motorist policy is a policy that we recommend you take out because it covers you for the damages you suffer during an accident. It is important to consider that personal injuries usually involve very high costs and treatment in the United States, so it is reasonable to consider it. In Georgia, most people will have $25,000 coverage (which is the minimum). Unfortunately, in many cases, this amount is insufficient and does not allow you to recover or collect the compensation you deserve, which you probably need for your medical treatment and complete recovery.
Many people break the law and drive without any coverage. If you were to crash into one of these people, you would be out of options. You could file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Still, if the other person has no assets, it gets complicated, and you probably won’t be able to recover any money or compensation, so it’s best to protect yourself.
The statute of limitations is the same as for any traffic accident in Georgia. You will have two years to file the claim, as the legal cause of action when claiming for that insurance is the same as the one you must file against the person you are suing in the first place for the crash, and the time limit for claiming will run from the day of the accident.
Types of UM/UIM policy
Finally, we should clarify that there are two types of uninsured/underinsured motorist policies. These two coverages are called add-ons and reduced policies. We recommend you always choose the additional one, since the reduced one you might not be able to use, and then it might not be of any use to you in the end.
The reduced coverage will only pay the difference between what the negligent driver’s insurance policy pays and your insurance coverage. For example, if you have $80,000 in underinsured coverage and the negligent driver has $25,000 in coverage (which is the minimum coverage for Georgia), you will have only $55,000 under your policy available to compensate you for your injuries.
The additional insurance coverage will pay you in addition to the amount paid by the negligent driver’s company. This means, continuing with the example, that you would have $105,000 for your personal injuries, instead of $55,000, and all for a very low difference in amount.
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In conclusion, our recommendation is to always check with your insurance company to make sure you have coverage and, if you do, that you can use it. If two years have passed and you had an accident where you suffered a physical injury, and you could not cover the amount with the policy of the guilty party, or it was a “hit and run” driver, consult with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney is a specialist in car accidents so you can file your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Remember that car accident cases are worked on a contingency fee basis, which means that the accident and personal injury lawyer will not charge you if you do not win, so be sure to file your claim.
Immediately verify with your insurance company that you have an uninsured motorist policy and request add-oncoverage.
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